BRUSLY — What began as a comfortable five-run lead going into the seventh inning turned precarious for University High.
Starting pitcher Khristian Paul was solid through six innings, but left after failing to record an out in the seventh, and Episcopal having scored a run and had two more runners on base.
“As a coach you want to reward guys that earned it,” University baseball coach Justin Morgan said. “The whole game (Paul) did a great job, filled up the strike zone and our defense played great behind him. In the last inning, I could tell he was losing a little bit. We were kind of on borrowed time with him there.”
Seth Daugherty came on in relief, registered consecutive outs followed by three straight walks, two of which turn into runs. He then closed the game with a strikeout for a 6-4 victory Saturday over Episcopal in an Ascension Catholic tournament game played at Brusly.
U-High (12-6) swept a pair of games Saturday, earlier taking a 15-4 win over St. John-Plaquemine, to extend its win streak to eight straight. The Cubs finish tournament play with The Dunham School at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at “La La” Regira Field in Donaldsonville.
“For five innings it was one of those days where our kids weren’t doing the things they’ve been doing all year,” said Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois, whose team also lost to Brusly, 14-4. “We talked afterward about being who we are and not trying to be somebody different.”
The two teams each scored unearned runs with U-High in the second and Episcopal (10-4) in third innings before the Cubs gained separation with five runs in their next two at-bats.
After a throwing error and a hit batter, U-High first baseman Josh Becnel got a two-out ball up into a 12-to-15 mph wind that carried over the head of center fielder Daniel Johnson, resulting in a two-run triple.
U-High loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and following a wild pitch that brought in a run, Daugherty drilled a 2-0 pitch from Matthew Garrett into left to make it 6-1.
Garrett (2-2) allowed four hits, two to left fielder Peyton Bonnette, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in his 85-pitch outing.
Paul (2-0), who threw 104 pitches, yielded five hits, walked three and fanned six. He left after a run-scoring single from Connor Pellerin (2-for-3) when Wayne Stabiler and pinch-hitter Chris Thibodaux each drew bases-loaded walks from Daugherty.
“Seth came in and was a little shaky there,” Morgan said. “He threw strikes when he needed to and didn’t let the situation overcome him.
“He did a good job of bending but not breaking. It was a team win, and I’m proud of our kids.”